Tuesday, 24 January 2012

I wanna talk Pub Grub....

....since there's been absolutely no crafting at my desk, let me tell you a story. 
My girlfriends and I - you have seen them referred to as 'The Coven'  - a name inferred by the Enthusiastic Educator's husband (a very brave man indeed)-  have for a few years, celebrated our birthdays, by getting together once a month, for a nice pub meal and gifts. It's lovely.  At Christmas, we do the same and for as many years it's been a table booked at the same place. 
Free photo courtesy of Winnond.
 Because the food is great, the menu vast and the service friendly and timely.  This Christmas, not for the first time, we were forced to comment on the general lack of lighting, acknowledged that the masses of Christmas lights strung about the place were indeed atmospheric, if a little lacking in erm, light. (And actually on that particular night, a lot of lights going off unexpectedly type action..we suspected fairy light overload.)  In fact, we had pre-ordered from the Christmas menu, so we kinda put up with it and a jolly evening was had.  Now, fast forward to last weekend.  Mr Dunnit, my one true love and all round best ever person, had a birthday.  When I asked if he'd like to feast on some home cooked delicacy involving hours of preparation and toil and therefore the necessity to enjoy and be grateful, he suggested that we went to this same pub, so that he could taste for himself why we 'The Coven' liked it.  And so I must admit to some reservation when I made the reservation.  I was right.  We had to use our phones to light the Menus.  Of course, I took this up with our waitress. I of course alluded to our 'old eyes', but really, this was a bit much. She expressed surprise at our discomfort...and gave us more time to wrestle with the choices that we could actually read.  Rather unsurprisingly then, our enthusiasm for our meal was a little coloured - indeed, Miss Dunnit couldn't actually see well enough to distinguish the colour of the leaves in her mixed salad..red lettuce leaves or green....and oh no - is that beetroot or not? It sort of ends up making you cross.  So, when came bill paying, I mentioned it again, adding that we were skipping dessert because we couldn't be bothered to battle in the dark with menus or not being able to see the food properly,  and I said, sadly it would put us off returning. The young woman said that she would tell management. She came back with the credit card machine and then had to step away from our table to gain enough light to see the screen on the machine .  And without a hint of irony, she said "I've spoken to the Manager.  He says the lights are deliberately low to create atmosphere and if you want them, they have torches behind the reception counter'.Well now, colour me dim....but rather than buying torches and expecting us to swallow the dark-equals-good-atmosphere idea, wouldn't it be a better thing to complement the fab food with decent lighting and surroundings to match...that's atmosphere, isn't it?





25 comments:

Bellaidea said...

No comments...
After several months of BAD time/food in restuarants I`m on stike with restaurants.
I`m not a profesional cook /mayby it`s good thing/ I prefer to cook at home. My pasta`s have planty of shrimps, not just 4-5, our stakes are fab and deserts to die for:)

Sue said...

Hi hun
i am with you 100% on this, i hate not being able to see the menu let alone what im eating!!! I have mentioned it in places, and have not been back!! sue,x

Ann B said...

Thought at first they were hiding bad food but no, you say it is good but it does seem they have something to hide - shabby decoration maybe.
Hope you didn't leave a tip - I would have said that I couldn't leave one because I couldn't see the tip tray, or my purse, in the gloom

Helen said...

I hate dark restaurants (this sounds as if I am in them all the time!) - atmosphere be blowed, I too want to see what I am choosing/eating and who I am with.... I cannot believe that they offered you a torch - afterward. How do they think you are going to eat with a torch in one hand (oh, the thoughts this is conjuring up!) Maybe they should go all out for miners lamps...

voodoo vixen said...

Oh thank heavens I am not the only one... I am made to feel like I am the only one... but it is lovely to know I am in such esteemed company on this matter!! Turn the flippin' lights on!! I moaned so loudly in one restaurant that they went and fetched us three more tealight candles because I said I couldn't see my food... and a large part of the enjoyment is to see what I am about to put in my mouth not have it come as a nasty surprise. They could have 'atmospheric' sections and well lit sections in most restaurants... it wouldn't be hard to do...

Mrs A. said...

Julia,
Do you have time for a return (you couldn't make it up even if you tried) story? Pull up a chair, grab a coffee ,ready?
'The Docs' Christmas department party was booked in a newwly refurbished pub that had been made into a fish resturant so we were all looking forward to trying out the menu. First mishap was we turned up on the night of a power cut not only that but the water came from a well which they couldn't pump up. Not a problem they assured us as they could do all the cooking using bottled water and they had plenty of candles on all of the tables being as it was Christmas. We got seated and 'The Doc' asked for the menu. Second mishap. As they were newly opened they only had the one menu? "Not a problem" said The Doc "I will have the menu and take down everyone elses order using this handy servette and my trusty pen" The waitress very reluctantly handed over said menu saying "you will be very careful with it won't you?" " What could I possibly do with the menu" said The Doc. So saying he began to read out the menu and count the arms raised for each choice. The trouble wsas he couldn't see the menu very well in the dark and kept leaning further snd further over the table until I could stand it no longer and pulled on his jacket sleeve to say something to him. Now The doc did't like me interupting him in full flow of counting 7 scampi with chips and told me to be quiet, at which point he happened to look up and saw what the rest of the table could see. 'The Menu' on fire!!! At which point in time he leapt up in horror threw the menu on the floor and stamped on it. Perhaps this is a good point in the tale to say it was a brand new polished wooden floor which now sported a nice black scorch mark and not much was left of the menu!!!!!!! Needless to say we have never had our Christmas do's there again especially after The Doc's Boss refushed to pay the bill and deducted half the cost for the inconvience we had received.
Moral of the stoyy is when The Doc says "wWat could possibly go wrong" don't hang around to find out!
Hugs Mrs A.

Angie said...

Only once have I been in a restaurant with such bad lighting ...and never again. Maybe you should put your complaint in writing ...pointing out that you may only visit once a month with a group of friends but you and your friends have a wide circle of other friends who may not visit again until there is light enough to read....worth a try lol xx

fairy thoughts said...

I think you should name and shame said pub. then maybe they will 'see the light' and add some more. I too loke to see what I am eating. Love Mrs A's story too.
janet

Carmen said...

Blimey - they sell TORCHES? I've never been in a place that badly lit and don't think I would return. Wow.

Li'l Pidge said...

Aha, another Coven!!! As to torches.....thats terrible! A good ale house with great food is hard to find, but when you do, boy, they are worth their weight in gold!!
kyla

JoZart said...

Well you couldn't hold a candle to that tale! How very riddy kew lus that place is! I won't be going there either and I don't even know where it is!!
JoZarty x

505whimsygirl said...

You had me rolling on the floor laughing (and crying). I am the same way. I was at a restaurant (not by any stretch fancy) and they dimmed the lights right as I was reading the menu. Well now, I had a challenge!

Sometimes I can't see the food on my plate because of my vision - but at least I can see what color it is!

XO
Kay

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

I am sure glad your "one true love" was obviously not as put out as you were. Indeed, the atmosphere should have been better, but since you are a well respected and long time patron, why were you treated so badly by management? Management should have been at your table the minute the waitress said something to them. I feel sorry for your choice of eateries. You may need to rethink your eating establishments for your monthly birthday nights out. Until then, wish Mr. D. a delightfully fun, albeit belated, birthday!

Enfys said...

Love, love, love that they offered you a torch - at least it wasn't a box of matches! Oh dear, and they wonder why pubs are closing at the rate of 23 a week (I absorb useless facts like that)

Carola Bartz said...

I had to laugh about this - and that they offered you torches AFTER the meal. Oh boy... I love to see my food (and the prices on the menu - oh, that's probably the reason for the low light).

Princess Judy Palmer said...

Like any normal pub-going patron would even THINK to ask for a torch. But after you heard they were available, I think you should have requested one. And asked if it could be shone into the ear of the manager to see if light came out the other ear.

The hub and I were once seated in a nook of a restaurant that had a stained glass window of various purples. It made the food an off color and such it wasn't very good. We both agreed it was the color of the food that made it taste bad. The brain is a powerful thing.

Katie said...

Oh no, that sounds like a terrible experience! I hate not being able to see what I'm eating, I get so worried something weird got in my food. I convince myself of it and can't eat anymore! I can't believe the manager didn't come over to apologize, especially seeing as you have a regular event there for years. At least it made for a good birthday story!

Sylvia/LittleTreasures said...

Happy Birthday to your beloved. In our small town we have only 1 place in business that serves food and drinks. Or we travel afar. When we go "OUT" of town to dine/drink,we have various lighting, we have a waitress who waits our table,brings our food/drinks and also brings us a bill for what we have consumed and takes our money. We leave a tip and out we go.Not always true in our town. We never know...the cook may be the one who says Hello and who you go to to give your order, ask for a drink and pay your bill. Lighting, TV depends if they have had time or remember to turn it on. Sometimes you turn on the TV..shut off a fan, or turn on some lights, get your own beer and the honor system is how you pay. Just depends who's working, or how many will show up to work that day. A whole new world to me when I moved back here!!!! But we eat, drink and be merry.

Mary said...

I think Judy has the right idea. My goodness, I guess when the atmosphere becomes empty, like the head of the manager...maybe the lights will be raised. Perhaps next time you should all wear miner's hats, with torches built in. That way you can read the menu and see what you are eating and have two hands free.

Neet said...

Well, rather than commenting on what you have written about (shame about that being your kinda favourite) can I just say I love it when you tell a tale.

Kirsty.a said...

I thbninkthey should advertise the torches - but it might attract a whole different clientele!

Cardarian said...

OH Julia you never dissapoint with your "reality" stories! I loved this one and can certainly agree with you?? "Atmosphere????" What do they think we are newly weds???? PUT ON THE LIGHTS!!!!
Lots of hugs,
Cardarian

Mary Ann said...

Oh dear...this reminds of a very dark lit Chinese restaurant my brother took me to year's ago for my birthday. I can't remember what the dish was now that my brother had ordered us but after chewing and chewing I mentioned to him that the mushrooms in my dish were rather chewy. He then told me that it wasn't mushroom but octopus. Seriously I could not tell what I was eating because it was so darn dark:)

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